CHERRY ORCHARD, OSF, 2007 Photo Credit: Jenny Graham

CHERRY ORCHARD, OSF, 2007
Photo Credit: Jenny Graham

  • Libby Appel’s translations capture the two essential qualities of Chekhov’s work for the stage: the variety of character rhythms and the internal resonances so important to an audience’s understanding of the action. But the translations are also contemporary. No “antiqueness” in these people, they express themselves as we might in their situation. In performance, the translations are “actable” for Americans, emphasizing the comic observations and the emotionally rich ironies.
    — Calvin MacLean, Producing Artistic Director, Clarence Brown Theatre
  • What I love about Libby Appel’s versions of Chekhov’s plays is how direct and accessible the language is while still allowing for the deep human mysteries that bubble underneath the surface of all his characters. It’s a perfect collection to have at hand and I trust that in a few years it will be on everyone’s shelf alongside Rocamora and Schmidt. Her versions are at once contemporary and classic.
    — Larissa Kokernot, Chalk Repertory Theatre
  • Appel has written this version with an ear for brisk yet indirect dialogue
    — Marty Hughley, The Oregonian
  • ...palatable sweetness and sadness that’s truly stirring...smooth and modern feel...refreshing..
    — Jim Dyer, Redding Record Searchlight

NOTE ON PRODUCTION

The beauty of Chekhov’s plays is the utter simplicity with which he tells his stories and yet the depth to which he plunges inside the characters’ souls.  He is a playwright, like Shakespeare, who completely understands the human condition and he never judges his characters nor does he hesitate to explore their foolishness and idiosyncrasies.  His intention is show people as they are and how they interrelate with one another. And as in life, these interactions can be heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time.
 
Chekhov’s plays are able to be produced on any kind of stage.  They have an epic quality, allowing us to see a whole society – usually in a state of collapse— and so a large proscenium stage works well for them.  But they are also uncommonly intimate—letting us see the minutest gesture which leads to profoundly understanding the human heart. A small studio space works perfectly as well.  These plays can be done proscenium, three-quarter round or in the round.

While the plays were originally produced with full and realistic settings for each of the acts, that practice has been long out of fashion today.  Indeed, the plays can be done with the most minimal of sets and props with very few changes per act.  A bare floor, a piano and a swing could actually say it all!